How much fluid do you need to stay hydrated?
A general rule of thumb for proper hydration is, drink half your weight in water (ounces) per day. For instance, a person who weighs 140 pounds should drink 70 ounces or eight cups of water per day. Keep in mind this number is not exact and can vary depending on exertion, climate and other factors.
Other fluids count too. Certain fruits and vegetables and meals contain more water than others. For example, watermelon, cucumber, celery and spinach or broth-based soup. Try incorporating these into your diet if you struggle with drinking enough water per day.
When thinking about your daily quota of water be sure to take your exercise routine into account. The longer and more intense your workout session, the more water is needed. In addition to your daily water intake, keep yourself properly hydrated by doing the following:
- An hour before your workout drink between 15-20 ounces or two cups of water.
- Fifteen minutes before your workout drink between 8-10 ounces or one cup of water
- During your workout, be sure to have another cup of water every 15 minutes.
- If you are sweating heavily, you may need to drink more, especially if you are exercising outdoors in extreme heat.
It’s important to know that drinks such as soda, coffee and alcohol are actually dehydrating and do not count towards your overall fluid intake.
Water and the metabolism
Water helps your body remove waste. If you don’t get enough water, your metabolism will slow down. This may lead to increased hunger, digestion problems and weight gain. Water can help suppress your appetite and actually increases the body’s ability to metabolize stored fat thereby supporting weight loss.
We sometimes interpret thirst as hunger so we eat when really, we need to drink. To avoid this, begin your day with approximately two cups of water; attempt to drink this amount before all meals as well. By doing so you start the day with a hydrated body and boost energy levels to support high performance in workouts, work and daily life tasks.
How to spot the signs of dehydration
Most people who are dehydrated don’t realize it. A great way to gage hydration is by paying attention to your body. Urine should be pale yellow - darker hues indicate dehydration (be mindful that B vitamins cause bright urine). Other indications of dehydration include a dry mouth; dry skin; headaches; and low energy.
The most important rule that you can follow is, don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink, especially when exercising!
For more information on the health benefits of proper hydration visit the GoodLife Kitchen.